So you Want to Study Music?
[Intended for: students and parents who tend to underestimate the power that music can have on college students]
My daughter’s deep interest for a music career did not quite manifest until she was a teenager. For as long as she was playing the violin, or making covers for her YouTube channel, it was perfectly fine.
“How intrinsically courageous is that shy little girl!” the neighbors would often exclaim, as she paved her way to the music conservatory on her own, carrying her violin proudly across town, unbothered by the fact that she had to be self-reliant; when it came to something as significant to her as music, she seemed determined to move mountains.
When the YouTube videos appeared, everybody thought “Oh wow! The quiet little girl is coming out of her cocoon! What a strong voice!” as they listened to her, singing some of the deepest Adele’s songs, among others- that's about it!
What nobody thought of, was that it was the benefits derived from music that contributed to her personal development. What nobody could ever conceive in the academically-oriented society where she grew up- one where academics are favored over all other activities- is that, it is music that may have boosted her IQ and enhanced her academic performance.
And what I, her mother, could not accept, sadly enough, was her intention of majoring in music in college. “She excels in the academics! What good would a music major do for her, and her future career?”
“What good did music do for renowned personalities like Condoleezza Rice, Alan Greenspan, and Bruce Kovner?” would probably have been a much more pertinent question to ask myself, I reckoned, upon reading the New York Times article “Is Music the Key to Success?” Rice who needs no introduction, was trained to be a concert pianist. Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve, was a professional clarinet and saxophone player, while Kovner, a hedge fund billionaire, is an accomplished pianist who took classes at Juilliard. Music clearly did not interfere with their pursuit of successful worldly careers, or did it?
These days, when guilt hits me, I ask the questions “Do all musicians become as successful as these three? Do all successful people have a musical background?”
“No!” is the undeniable answer, but we shall never know what was in reserve for my daughter!
My greatest consolation is that she fared well in college admissions; the expected benefits or a “safer” major far outweighed the risks involved in a music major. And I was not ready to take such risks. But who am I to decide for her life? Sure, as her mother, I am concerned about her future, but this was all about her, not me!
In the worst case scenario, it might have not worked out as planned, but at least she would have known for a fact that she was not intended to become a successful musician. In any case, the skills acquired by a music major are as transferable as any other liberal arts major’s. She had nothing to lose!
“Don’t worry,” my practical self would often whisper, “as a scientist, successful she is bound to become, wherever she goes” But we shall probably never know…
Because of the fear and doubt that is deeply rooted in my own conditioning, I instilled doubt in my daughter’s mind– like most fearful and doubtful would. And that, the counselor in me is certainly not proud of!
Sources and Useful Links: